Update: Lance Armstrong Resigns as Chairman of LIVESTRONG Foundation

October 2012 has not been a good month for Lance Armstrong, the former cycling champion.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency released more than 1,000 pages of evidence resulting from its doping investigation of Armstrong. CNN has reported: “Evidence of Armstrong doping ‘overwhelming,’ agency says.” CNN also provided “Highlights of the Armstrong report.

Following the release of the USADA evidence, Nike and Anheuser-Busch announced they would not be continuing their endorsement relationships with Armstrong. However, both companies expressed their intentions to continue support of The LIVESTRONG Foundation.

As the doping controversy intensified, Armstrong made the decision to step down as Chairman of The LIVESTRONG Foundation though he will continue to serve on the board. You can read the official statement from LIVESTRONG and Armstrong here.

On August 31, 2012, I first wrote about the Armstrong scandal (“Should Lance Armstrong Resign from LIVESTRONG?”). My post included an unscientific poll. By September 7, 43.94 percent of respondents felt Armstrong should remain as Chairman while 6.82 percent felt he should step aside as Chairman but remain on the board. However, an additional 49.24 percent felt Armstrong should resign from the board. By the way, I shared the poll results and reader comments with LIVESTRONG but received no comment.

While LIVESTRONG maintains that donations to the Foundation have boomed, it remains to be seen what the long-term impact of the scandal will be. Armstrong knows what he did or did not do. He now knows what evidence has been gathered against him. He owes it to those the Foundation serves to do the right thing for them and the Foundation. Armstrong needs to set aside his ego and do what is right. Will his resignation of the Chairman’s post be sufficient to protect the Foundation? Time will tell.

So, what do you think? Did Armstrong do the right thing by resigning as Chairman of LIVESTRONG? Should he have done so sooner? Should he resign from the board? Will the Foundation’s reputation be tainted by Armstrong’s doping scandal? You can weigh-in by commenting below.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

 

UPDATE (Oct. 22, 2012): The International Cycling Union (UCI) will not appeal the USADA finding instead accepting the investigation’s conclusion. “A landmark day for cycling,” Pat McQuaid, President of the UCI, said at a news conference in Geneva, according to an Associated Press report. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.” In Paris, at another press event, Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said, “Lance Armstrong is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999-2005.”  Prudhomme also announced that he wants Armstrong to payback his prize money, totaling $3.85 million.

 

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13 Responses to “Update: Lance Armstrong Resigns as Chairman of LIVESTRONG Foundation”

  1. For me, I think it is the right thing to do. In fact, IMHO, he ought to resign completely. No question. There is overwhelming evidence that he lied and cheated the public. He is no athletic champion…but then, with all the scandals around us there is always a question of whether any athletic achievement is real.

    Furthermore, while I don’t know the full context of the foundation stating that “donations to the Foundation have boomed,” but it raises a red flag for me if the foundation is basing it’s opinion regarding Mr. Armstrong’s board role on donation rates.

    However, I am not the target audience and my moral values and principles don’t seem to be shared overall by the general American public. The foundation will do what it thinks best but they won’t win my trust – or my donation – for a long time.

    • Keith, thank you for sharing your thoughts. When it comes to moral values and judgment, I don’t believe there has ever been a time when opinion has been unanimous. Consider the downfall of U.S. President Richard Nixon. Approximately nine months prior to his resignation in August 1974, Nixon still enjoyed the approval of 27 percent of Americans according to a Gallup Poll reported by CBS News. So, I’m not at all surprised that public opinion about Armstrong is divided.

      In you comment, you wrote, “The foundation will do what it thinks best…” My concern is: Will the Foundation do what it thinks best for Lance Armstrong or for the people served by the Foundation? I hope it is the latter.

  2. The CEO of the Foundation was interviewed on NPR yesterday. I thought he did a good job with some tough questions. However, I just couldn’t really believe (neither could the interviewer) the CEO’s assertion that this scandal is completely separate from the Foundation and shouldn’t affect it at all. Armstrong is too integral to the Foundation’s brand for that to be true. Personally, I would feel better about Armstrong remaining on the Board if he would apologize for what he has done rather than ignore it.

    • Heather, thank you for your comment. For me, the Armstrong doping scandal is about much more than doping. The scandal, while certainly involving the doping issue, also involves lies, cheating, defamation, and self-interest. While much remains uncertain at this point, one thing is clear: the scandal won’t be going away anytime soon.

  3. I think this whole situation, and other celebrity driven endorsed charities or commercial products, can and will continue to be ticking time bombs for many organizations. It’s all good while its good. But the bigger they are the harder they fall. And in this case, I believe Lance waited too long to step out of the lime-light. It taints the whole organization regardless of the reality of his innocence or guilt. For a charity there is nothing more sacred than honesty and integrity. And when the founder or leader demonstrates the exact opposite of these principles it sheds an extremely poor light on the charity. In my opinion….

    • Eric, thank you for your comments. Some folks think it is enough for nonprofit to do no wrong. Those folks are incorrect. Nonprofits must also avoid even the appearance that they might have done something wrong. Nonprofit organizations depend on the public trust. When trust is tainted, it’s only a matter of time before the organization begins to feel some pain.

      • Yes, its a tight-rope for most nonprofits. And the bigger you are the more you have to manage your reputation. In many ways the standards are much higher for nonprofits compared to for-profit organizations.

      • Eric, you wrote, “In many way, the standards are much higher for nonprofits compared to for-profit organizations.” I agree with you. That’s one of the reasons I get annoyed when some folks blindly suggest that nonprofits should operate more like for-profits. I always respond with something snarky like, “Oh, you mean like Enron, AIG, and Goldman-Sachs?” While both sectors can certainly learn from each other, there are some things best left alone. 🙂

  4. I don’t really know where I stand on this anymore. I’ve been a believer of Lance through this whole thing, but I suppose evidence is evidence, and that being the case, I suppose it’s best to step down. I’m surprised he stayed on the board, and think he probably should remove himself from that as well, but it’s not like he has complete power, he’s merely one of the voices now.

    • Brian, thank you for sharing your thoughts. While I agree that Armstrong is technically just one voice on the board, I suggest that that voice is a big, booming one. Given who he is, the fact that he founded the organization, and the likelihood he helped recruit at least some of the members of the board, Armstrong likely has disproportionate power. This is one reason that his continuing relationship with the organization is such a big issue.

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